So, you are an introvert?
Welcome, get comfy, check out your surroundings and feel free to sit up the back. Yes, all of you! (It’s the internet so we can do that see?)
You are in good company. J.K. Rowling, Emma Watson, Mahatma Ghandi, Rosa Parks and Audrey Hepburn all identify as introverts. In fact about 1/3 to 1/2 of the population claim to get their energy through spending time on their own.
Plus, introversion is the new black don’t you know. Everyone is doing it. This is our time loners!
Small problem though right? We all need people. Take it away Barbara.
People. People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.
Or something like that.
Yes, even we who leave parties without saying goodbye, even we who run screaming from the conference room at the suggestion we “share our thoughts with our neighbour. Even we, who sometimes want to shout out loud in the middle of a conversation “stop talking everybody”.
Even we, get lonely.
Even we, need more than just books to meet our needs. (no offense books, I still love you books. Please don’t look at me like that books, you are still my bestie.)
Here are eight reason that even introverts need friends. Because some people have tried to convince me that maybe we don’t.
1. Connection with other people increases resilience
2. You are ace so you shouldn’t keep that to yourself
3. Friendship is good for the soul, the happiness, the inside smile.
4. Touch and human contact is part of what keeps us going. It decreases pain, promotes growth, increases wellbeing and may even help us stay healthy.
5. Talking with friends can help you solve problems and make a difference in the world.
6. You might one day have a broken heart and need someone to bring you cake.
7. You might one day get sick and need someone to bring you soup.
8. You might one day feel slumpy and need someone to bring you a Boost juice.
So how to go about making friends? Well that is the hard part. Gather around, some in close, (not too close of course), I have the secret.
Don’t do it.
Ok, just joking.
Using humour to deflect from my personal discomfort. Classic strategy.
Try it, you’ll like it.
Here are my (actual) top tips for making friends as an introvert.
Say yes, to the right people, more often. “Want to come to the poetry workshop?”
No “Yes, sure.” “Want to check out that new cafe with me?” “ I’m too busy.” “Yes please, when are you free?” Want to try illegal base jumping on the weekend?” No thanks.
You never know what good thing might come your way from a new experience. Plus the more people you meet, the better your chances of making a friend. My bold guess is that the average new friend rejection rate is around 60% so, you have to be in it (often) to win it.
Find your people. You don’t have to want to hang out with everyone all the time. If you’re peeps love going clubbing every weekend, and you like sipping green tea and watching Anne of Green Gables, then maybe branch out a little. Go somewhere different, do something new. Your people will be out there, somewhere. (If you like the tea and Anne thing, I am your people by the way.)
Do something new every 6 months. This is a fun one. Join a club, try dating online, volunteer on a committee, attend a local event, go to an event at the local library, play tennis, become a Scout leader, start a book group. You will feel a little bit scared but hold on tight and do it anyway.
Watch your body language. Maybe you are trying to make new friends but in reality you keep giving people dirty looks. Maybe you think someone you meet is interesting and ace but you refuse to look them in the eye or you ignore their phone calls. If so, work it out, work on it, develop a new talent for smiling and eye ball looking and cheek kissing and being friendly.
This is a hard one, take the first step. Ask someone to do something that you think you might both enjoy. I am not so good at this one. I have been known to think about organising a coffee date with someone for years, until eventually one of us moves away and then I think, “Oh, that was a pity.”
Throw a dinner party, it does not have to be at home. It is lovely to invite people into your home and you should definitely try to do it. But, if your house is your quiet, safe little cave, and you start sweating at the thought of having someone in it, then deal with it. Go out, try a restaurant, or a cafe. Go to an event, ask a friend to attend. Go to theatre, have a drink before hand. There is something lovely about having people in your home. It speaks of generosity, kindness and intimacy. But if you can’t make it, at least try to fake it.
Be a friend. If in doubt, do something nice for someone else. This could include bringing, cake, boost juice or soup because everyone loves these things. You might also think about volunteering, listening or hanging out.
People love someone to listen to them, in fact I would suggest that there is listening famine. If you can listen, you are a golden jewel of a person.
So there are my seven tips. I meant to start with a funny story about how weird and shy I can be in a big group, to put you at your ease. Instead maybe you could check out this other post that I wrote, it’s all there.
Yep, I don’t mean to brag, but I have six friends. Cool hey?